Monday, December 12, 2005

Catholic Analysis on Peggy Noonan's John Paul the Great

What a God-incidence! Oswald Sobrino of Catholic Analysis reviews Peggy Noonan's John Paul the Great! Just in time, too! Here's a taste:
But what is really good about the book? She captures the truth that for so many John Paul the Great was indeed a spiritual father who brought so many of us to take the Catholic faith seriously as a way of life. No more watered down, cafeteria Catholicism; but, with the publication of the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, with the encyclicals and travels of John Paul the Great, we finally got the real challenge that so many of us were denied for so long.

Here is one of many peeks at our beloved John Paul the Great by Noonan:

I always got the feeling with John Paul that if he could have narrowed down the people he met and blessed to those he loved most, they would not be cardinals, princes, or congressmen, but nuns from obscure convents and Down syndrome children, especially the latter. Because they have suffered, and because in some serious and amazing way the love of God seems more immediately available to them. Everyone else gets themselves tied up in ambition and ideas and bustle, all the great distractions, but the modest and unwell are so often unusually open to this message: God loves us, his love is all around us, he made us to love him and be happy.

Noonan, p. 8.

You will just have to read the book to enjoy the other insights into John Paul the Great. But I will share Noonan's insight into our current Pope Benedict XVI. Noonan recounts how a retired curial monsignor asked Cardinal Ratzinger why he was so hard on the Church in comments he made about "filth" in the priesthood during a Good Friday liturgy. According to one Italian newspaper, then Cardinal Ratzinger replied, "You weren't born yesterday, you understand what I'm talking about, you know what it means. We priests! We priests!" (Noonan, p. 230).
I commute to the Bronx each morning and afternoon--approximately 37 miles one way. In rush-hour, that can easily take an hour+. Today, I picked up Peggy Noonan's John Paul the Great on CD for the ride in and home. I'm glad Mr. Sobrino enjoyed the retrospective. I'll let you know what I think as I listen. If you're good!